The suddenly-hot Toronto Raptors pulled off their third-consecutive victory with a rare road win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night.
With a .500 record at home, they will be looking to build on that success on Wednesday when they host the Detroit Pistons at the Air Canada Centre.
The Pistons have lost their last five on the bounce including an 88-76 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday.
Here are a few things to consider heading into tonight’s game:
A pointed debate
The Raptors big off-season splash was a deal to add Kyle Lowry from the Houston Rockets for a first-round pick despite the presence of Jose Calderon.
Lowry is sidelined for the second time already this season and the Raptors are on a roll with Jose Calderon leading the charge which has led Toronto media to begin to ask head coach Dwane Casey, “what happens when Lowry returns?”
“We’ll cross that London bridge when we get there,” Casey told the Toronto Star’s Cathal Kelly. “Jose’s playing at a high level right now and we’ll cross that bridge later. . . . I don’t want to do anything that will hurt our chemistry and I don’t think Kyle will, but we’ll see when we get there.”
With Calderon starting, the Raptors are 5-5 this season while being just 2-14 when Lowry is healthy, however the Spaniard is handling the issue with the usual diplomacy that we have come to expect from him.
“I want to be professional. I want to win with this team. It’s not about me,” Calderon said. “That’s for coach to decide.”
With the Raptors in the middle of their brightest point in the season thus far, things got even brighter as off-season signee Landry Fields was on the bench in uniform against the Cavaliers on Tuesday night.
Fields has not been available after he underwent elbow surgery on Nov. 7.
“He’s just got to be ready and be available to kind of work his way back in. I’m not going to force-feed him,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey told the Toronto Sun on Tuesday.
Fields struggled to start the season shooting 20.8 percent from the field prior to the surgery. He has been working hard to rediscover his old form during his rehab.
“It was tough because I had to re-train my body to do the mechanics because so long I was trying to avoid what was going on and that was creating bad movement in my body,” he said.
A year ago after 27 games the Pistons were 7-20 which is the exact same spot they find themselves in this season.
Despite the numerical argument, Pistons coach Lawrence Frank believes his side has made progress this season.
“I think we’ve definitely made progress, it’s one of those things where we haven’t seen the result,” Frank told the Detroit News. “We’re disappointed in the result, we expect better, but we are a better team than last year.”
Frank points to how this year’s squad is keeping games tighter as a positive sign for this season over last.
“It’s disappointing to have the (current) record we have but I think sometimes you look and peel back the onion, that record we had last year, there were many games we weren’t even competitive,” Frank said. “We were that team ‘go play the Pistons, knock them out early, they’re done. We’re no longer that team.”